by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Oct 14, 2016
The first Ariane 5 launcher to orbit Galileo navigation satellites has completed its initial build-up in French Guiana, continuing preparations for Arianespace's November 17 mission from the Spaceport to deploy four more of the European-developed global positioning spacecraft.
During activity in the Spaceport's Launcher Integration Building, this heavy-lift vehicle for Arianespace Flight VA233 underwent the assembly process that began by mating Ariane 5's two solid propellant strap-on boosters with the main cryogenic stage. The next step was integration of the launcher's vehicle equipment bay as well as the installation of Ariane 5's EPS storable propellant stage.
From launcher integration to final assembly
The EPS storable propellant upper stage is powered by a re-ignitable engine that operates with MMH and N2O4 propellants. It differentiates Flight VA233's launcher from the Ariane 5 ECA versions, which have a cryogenic upper stage and are typically used on Arianespace missions to geostationary transfer orbits with telecommunications satellites.
For Flight VA233, the Ariane 5 ES will carry the quartet of Galileo satellites (weighing 738 kg. each) and their 447-kg. dispenser system to medium-Earth orbit, for deployment at an altitude of approximately 23,222 km.
Ariane 5's first use to deploy Galileo satellites
Galileo is a key effort for Europe, offering highly accurate positioning with great precision and reliability via a civil global satellite navigation system. The program is funded and owned by the European Union, with overall responsibility for management and implementation held by the European Commission. Design and development of the new generation of systems and infrastructure has been assigned to the European Space Agency.
The spacecraft to be launched on Flight VA233 were built by OHB System in Bremen, Germany, with their navigation payloads provided by Surrey Satellite Technology in the United Kingdom. Airbus Defence and Space developed the dispenser system that will carry and deploy the satellites from Ariane 5.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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